Dawn of Ishiba's NBA Franchise Ownership
By Penelope Trent - March 18, 2023

After months of rumors, Mat Ishbia appears to be the new majority owner of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury. According to reports, the selling price for two wild teams is $4 billion. For those who don’t know, Ishbia is the proprietor of the Pontiac, Michigan-based mortgage lending business United Wholesale Mortgage. In addition to making a large investment in the teams, Justin Ishbia, Ishbia’s brother, will act as the auxiliary governor. Matt Ishbia is no newcomer to the game, having previously participated as a walk-on for Michigan State University’s Tom Izzo. He played an average of 2.4 minutes per game over 48 games in three separate seasons, scoring 0.6 points per game.

Ishbia additionally competed as the 2000 Spartans NCAA champions. Many weeks are anticipated for the transaction to be finished. The NBA will screen Ishbia, chairman, president, and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, and after that process, the league’s board of governors must accept the deal. The board’s next meeting isn’t scheduled until March, but it might be virtually held if the vetting procedure is finished earlier. Ishbia was valued at $5.1 billion by Forbes as of late.

Getty images/Getty Images Entertainment/ Cindy Ord/Staff

Ishbia is the third Michigan State alumnus to own a majority stake in an NBA franchise, including Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Tom Gores, owner of the Detroit Pistons and a different mortgage loan business. Ishbia continues to support his alma mater by giving 32 million dollars to Michigan State Athletics in 2021. Before his offer for the Phoenix teams was finally accepted, Ishbia was in the running for several NBA and NFL teams over the previous few years.

This will be the greatest acquisition in NBA history if the sale is finalized at $4 billion. 2019 saw the $3.3 billion purchase of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center by Joe Tsai, while 2017 saw the $2.2 billion acquisition of the Houston Rockets by Tilman Fertitta. The Los Angeles Clippers were the only other NBA team known to have been sold to Steve Ballmer for $2 billion or more in 2014.